In Which Dawn Learns to Pray (#4)

notebook-1361981_1920I felt this pull while praying to check my website email.  Putting it off as a distraction, I went back to praying, only to have it crop up again.  So, I asked the Lord if this is something He was wanting me to do right now.  I immediately heard, “Go for it.” 

Okay, checking the email, nothing there I needed to see as far as I could tell.  That’s a little discouraging since maybe I didn’t hear from Him after all, which then degrades into maybe none of the things I think I’ve heard in the past are from Him either, which spirals into the typical that-works-for-others-but-not-me mindset of my past.  Doubt, failure, intimidation.

Regardless of whether I heard right or not, I know that those last three thoughts are not from God either!  What do I do with this?

Then I realize I’m still on the steep end of the learning curve.  In fact, we’re all on the steep end of the learning curve until the day we leave this place, so I’m in good company.  And the learning curve is just that, learning.  That, in itself, is encouraging.  I was a good student in school, but I still had to study and learn from my mistakes.  In fact, mistakes are some of the best instructive devices!  Plus, I know I have the best Teacher.

The opposite plays right into the enemy’s strategy: discouragement.  Who would want me to stop praying and jump off that learning curve?  Who has a vested interest in my giving in to doubt, failure and intimidation?  And fear of deception (one of my personal past Big Three)? 

Besides, if I need to hear from God about something important with obvious far-reaching consequences, He is good enough to confirm it for me.  He did that with Gideon, and He promises He doesn’t play favorites.  Plus, He has provided safeguards during the process: the Bible, koinonia with those who are further up the curve than myself, and of course, the Holy Spirit Himself.

He also promises that His sheep hear and know His voice.  Jesus is patient and kind and gentle, so I’m not by myself on this mountain of a learning curve.  Psalm 23 help-2444110_1920says, He leads me in paths of righteousness, and that He is with me in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  Well, if He’s with me there, surely He’s with me in the Valley of the Shadow of Doubt. 

I can let this serve to increase my tenacity and resolve, pushing me further in, rather than scaring me away.  Good things don’t necessarily come easily, and great things come with a price. 

Hey, this is good stuff.  Maybe I heard Him after all.

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“Jag älskar dig!”

international-2684767_1920Which means, “I love you!” in the beautiful language I’m trying so hard to learn—Swedish.  This will be one of the native tongues for my second grandchild, as her wonderful Pappa is Swedish, and they are soon to be living there. 

As a point of connection, (and, as a grandmother, when you live as far away as I do, you actively seek points of connection), I’m investing some time in this little project.  She’ll know English also, but she’ll have fun giggling at her “mormor”, (the Swedish name for maternal grandmother), as I stumble through and unintentionally desecrate an otherwise delightful sounding language. Continue reading ““Jag älskar dig!””

The wheel keeps turning, but am I going anywhere? (Prayer journal #3, cont…)

I’m a bit fascinated by the concept of Prayer Wheels.  Put somewhat simplistically, a Prayer Wheel is cylindrical collection of Buddhist mantras wrapped around a central core that turns (usually clockwise) so that every time it makes a full revolution, the virtue (“merit”) of those scripted prayers are incurred by the one who turns it.  It’s generally recommended that the practitioner use a form of meditation at the same time, but I’ve read that, even in a distracted state of mind, merit is still obtained.  The more it is turned, the more benefit is received.  This from Lamayeshe.com: Continue reading “The wheel keeps turning, but am I going anywhere? (Prayer journal #3, cont…)”

Grandparenting 101.

microscope-2223268_1920You know the typical story of the excited grandparent that buys their 5-month-old grandchild a full-size baseball glove?

Yeah, that’s us.  We are now decidedly in that category.

Bob recently had a delightful conversation with our eldest granddaughter, soon to turn the ripe old age of four.  Her mom is just so amazingly great about taking her to museums and using so many available resources for their Precious One’s brain development!  And, since Grandpa teaches biology at our local college, naturally a little course on “cells” has been on the educational menu of late.

Precious One has decided that microscopes are all the rage right now.  So, in an effort to take advantage of this current (and momentary) interest, I thought it prudent to send her a toy representation.  Of course, the one I picked out was W-A-Y too juvenile…according to the Professor.  Continue reading “Grandparenting 101.”

What’s in YOUR toolbox?

carpenters-toolbox-1466467_1920My dad had a shop in the basement, a couple of rooms of the basement in fact. It was pretty awe-inspiring.  His big engineer’s drafting table, from which hung the triangle and T-square, dominated one room, the one in which he built in all the new cabinets himself.  I think that was before he designed and built the beautiful screened-in back porch. 

The actual shop was in an adjacent room.  This housed a myriad of baby food jars filled with screws and washers and all types and sizes of things.  His lathe was in there, and the circle saw, and undoubtedly a host of other things I would have no idea how to use.  (What’s a router??)

Continue reading “What’s in YOUR toolbox?”

Beware: broken sidewalk

If you’re on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed the proliferation of cat and dog photos.  That’s okay, since it’s a subject obviously near and dear to the owner’s heart.  I even wrote a children’s book about my dog—ready for this??—in Swedish, for my Swedish granddaughter. 

(Sidebar—Yes, I’m trying to learn Swedish, such a beautiful language.  I use my vocabulary words, plus a few others to fill in the blanks, to write primary-style stories along the lines of “See Jane.  See Jane run.”  Because that’s about the level of my Swedish.  So why not write about my dog, along with photos?) 

One of the wonderful things about dogs, we are told, is that they live in the now.  There’s no worrying about tomorrow or fretting over yesterday.  For them, it’s a total embracing of present tense, in every encounter, every situation.  Continue reading “Beware: broken sidewalk”

Puzzled

puzzle1I had no idea how much my middle adult daughter loves jigsaw puzzles!  We rarely did any when she was growing up, just not my thing, you know.  She says it’s a stress buster, and just plain fun. 

Now that I know this little tidbit of info this one who lives half a continent away, I’ve decided to give her a year-long birthday present of a puzzle a month.  Only with a little twist: Bob and I will build the puzzle first, turning it over when completed and writing a message on the back. 

She’s all in!

But wait, there’s more.  I’ve sent out an APB to family to get them involved.  Now, when the hub and I finish a puzzle, I (carefully) wrap it up and mail it to different family members for THEM to write/color/draw on the back, send it back to me (postage pre-paid) and then I break it up and send it off to its new coastal home.

They’re all in!

Okay, yeah, this is getting expensive.  Hopefully I’ll have some ready and rolled up when we travel to actually be with family and get a few done in advance that way.  It’ll be worth it though, helping my middle child connect with family in a unique way, dontchaknow?! Continue reading “Puzzled”

Welcome to Crete

sign-303895_1280

I have opinions.  Some are strong ones, like Purdue should win the NCAA tournament this year, (just kidding, but that would be nice.)  Some a bit more ambivalent, you know, mashed potatoes with or without gravy, (unless, of course, it’s Thanksgiving.)

And, like everyone else, I also have my own sense of timing.  I’ve come to the opinion that this faculty is a product of both nature and nurture.  I have recently decided there must be a part of the brain that controls one’s awareness of time, and since Bob’s very nurturing family typically ran late, perhaps this furthers my DNA connection.

I also have opinions about how I like to spend my time.  Actually, the word I should italicize is “my”, which, as a Christian, is usually a theological typo.  As obsessive as I can be about getting out the door “on time”, when it comes to God’s plans, I have a tendency to either drag my feet or ring my hands impatiently, both of which waste His time!

Enter one of the intriguing characters of the New Testament, Titus.  In Heaven, I want to talk with this guy; he’s kind of a personal hero of mine.  A non-Jewish convert to the new religion of Christianity, Titus became a trusted friend and faithful co-worker of Paul.  We read of him overseeing financial transactions, going on missionary excursions with the apostle, as well as being sent into a sticky situation in one of the churches in Corinth.

But my personal favorite is his assignment in Crete.  Paul himself writes this to his younger cohort:

“I left you on the island of Crete…”

Wow!  Paul had intentionally chosen Titus for the task—now that’s an impressive project!  Not bad in one’s C.V. for future ministry options; that is, until we read a bit further down the page with Paul’s travel guide description:

“Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, ‘The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.’”

And then, as if to underline that statement, Paul adds: 

“This is true.” 

Great.  Just great.  Not exactly a K-LOVE cruise with your favorite artists.  Even though Titus was himself a Greek, he had been with Paul, a very learned scholar with high standards of moral living.  Perhaps not a good initial fit for the younger man.  Why did Paul leave Titus there?  To complain?  To despair?

“…so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you.” 

Titus was not without resources.  He had been instructed, prepared, and now the Holy Spirit was strategically placing him for reasons of His own choosing which, I can only surmise, had to do with Paul’s earlier statement:

“…at just the right time he has revealed this message…”

Not only had God now revealed his reconciling message of Jesus to the world, but the time was right for those “lying and lazy” Cretans to hear it also.  God had been working.  Preparing hearts.  Using circumstances.  Arranging and developing and “calling those things that are not as though they were.”  (I love that one.) 

Thankfully, God is still working.  Preparing hearts and using circumstances.  In loved ones, in the government, in the most unlikely and personally uncomfortable situations and scenarios.  We all have our own “Cretian calling”, (sometimes within our own hearts.)

And God is not obligated to ask me about my opinion or sense of timing. 

Titus 1:12,13, 2  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Where’s a screen writer when you need one?

Have you noticed that it seems like quite a few flicks coming out of southern Cal studios are based on true events?  Maybe the “Industry” kingpins (holding the purse strings) have realized that it’s profitable for art to imitate life rather than the other way around.

Clearly, there’s enough drama, intrigue, and corresponding courage in life and history to keep the screen writers busy.  Here’s one I haven’t seen written yet. Continue reading “Where’s a screen writer when you need one?”

Planning…

You know that whole “knock, and the door will be open to you” thing that Jesus talked about?  I’m wondering how many times we stand on that same threshold with the door finally open, but are too scared to step over.

Which makes this story of Nehemiah so informative to me.

The land of the Hebrews, God chosen people, lay in utter ruin and desolation, as predicted.  The people, those who survived, are in exile, servants of the foreign king.  Nehemiah lands the job of cupbearer of this pagan king himself, not particularly a posh position, since at any time the royal loses his cool, Nehemiah could lose his head. Continue reading “Planning…”